I realise this blog has a lot of photographs of mud, and this post will continue that jolly theme….
In day to day life, peat is a fairly useless substance, and there’s an awful lot of it in Scotland. In a nearby bog, it reaches a depth of four metres. Hence I’m inclined to regard the debate about whether it should be used in gardens with bemusement. Anyway, I have my own supply, which lies about two feet underneath this propitious piece of landscape: About a century ago, this was a pond. Then someone attempted to drain it and plant trees, – without much success on either front, as you can see. But one day, as I was trying to revive the drainage ditches in a futile fashion, I found that the bed of the old pond, underneath a century’s worth of mud, consisted of about two feet of peat. Not nice friable heather peat, but extremely soggy and unpleasant rush/moss peat. But good enough for a peat wall.
Peat walls are fun, because, unlike brick walls, you can grow things in them, such as gentians, heathers, and maybe primulas. Also, over time, they get a coating of moss, which makes them look suitably rustic. But they do decay a bit, and need renewal. So, down at the bottom of a very wet trench, I am cutting out blocks:The blocks have to be barrowed:And then left to drain, until they are about the consistency of an undercooked sponge cake.Meanwhile, I cut a space for the replacement wall. Because it is on a slope, I’ve put down a piece of slate to stop the blocks sliding downhill.Cutting the blocks to shape is just like cutting cake. I use a buttercup knife, but a cake knife would do. Once they are in position, gaps are plugged with the soggy off-cuts:Here’s the finished repair. As you can see, I have pushed some gentian offshoots into the cracks between the blocks, so that with luck they will flower next year.If you fancy a peat wall, but don’t have your own bog, it’s easy enough to buy in blocks (at a price). Here’s one central Scotland supplier: There are others.